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Proclaiming on purpose 

Isaiah 55:11 – “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

It has been revival week this week. And man, have we been challenged! 

In my heart and mind, our speaker has been really focusing on sharing the Gospel with others. God is really wanting to get that ball rolling. 

I fail at this. I try to live my life so that others will see Him. I read my Bible trying to listen to what He says. I pray and talk to Him about so many things. But I don’t share Him with others like I’m supposed to. And I’ve touched on this before – it is because of fear. I know that if I would just share Him one time, the next time would be easier. It’s just taking that first step. 

I don’t know what I’m afraid of – God said that His word would not return void. He can use all of my bumbling and fear and turn it into something marvelous if I would just take the first step. 

Look at moving day – you plan for it, you prepare for it, you psyche yourself up for it and then you have to do it. There is no choice when the van arrives – you have to do it. 

Sometimes I wish sharing the Gospel was like that – when the opportunity arises, you just have to do it, there’s no way to get out of it. But it’s not. You have to chose to proclaim Him. You have to do it on purpose. 

We have been encouraged this week to talk to the person at the gas pump about Jesus. Holy man! That scares me like nothing else! There can be some creepy people at the gas pump. And we hear all about weirdos that say and do things that are questionable. Want more excuses? I have a bucket full of them. But being “creepy” and a “weirdo” is my perception of them. God sees someone who needs Him. And God sees me needing to be obedient. 

Like everything else, it is a choice. It is a choice to be obedient. It is a choice to take that first scary step. It is a choice to proclaim on purpose. It is a choice to see others like Jesus sees them. 

Proclaiming on purpose. It is a challenge we all need to accept in our life. This world has loads of people needing to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. They are hurting and scared and needing Someone to hold onto. They need Jesus. They need me to proclaim Him on purpose. 

Revisit – Kryptonite

Hope you enjoy this revisit from January 29,2013!

Proverbs 16:6 – “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.”
Do you ever stop and think about what all Jesus really did for you? I mean really think about it? It is hard for me to do that because it makes me want to cry. I want to cry not only for His suffering and shame but for my lack of continual acknowledgement.
It was His love and faithfulness that has brought me to where I am, nothing of my own doing. His sacrifice covers it all. It gives me the opportunity to stand before the Father spotless.
But do we really stand? My pride may cause me to stand but in reality we should be on our faces before God. I mean, this is God we are talking about here – Creator of the universe, Knower of ALL things! Hello! Not Someone to quibble with!
I think our society has lost touch with a healthy fear of things. We think we are invincible – modern day Superman. Even Superman had his fears – kryptonite. But it was a healthy fear.
We are told here in Psalm that the “fear of the LORD” helps one to “avoid evil.” What does it mean to “fear” The Lord? In my life, it means that my deep love and respect for Him make me want to do my best for Him and not hurt His feelings by doing something wrong. I don’t want to disappoint Him. If I were perfect, I wouldn’t have a problem doing this. However, when my sin creeps into the situation and I forget all that He has done for me, his “love and faithfulness” bring me back around and set my feet on solid ground.
So today, princess, take some time and analyze your level of “fear of the LORD”. If things are lacking, run to His “love and faithfulness” and claim the promise of atonement and your place on solid ground.

A Whole New Level of Peace

Isaiah 32:16-17 – “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

My son left Monday for a 10 day trip to the United Kingdom to play soccer with his team. We took him to the airport and left him in the hands of his coach and several parents. 

And I’m not worried. I’m grateful. 

Now, true, I didn’t sleep much Monday night knowing that he was flying across the ocean, but deep down, I knew he would be fine. 

This whole experience has been interesting to say the least. I have learned a whole new level of trust and peace. I have let my 14 year old son go to a foreign country without me. People would look at me like I’m crazy when I told them he was going. 

“How can you let him go without you?” “Aren’t you worried something could happen to him?”

My answer is this – He is an amazing young man. I trust him to make good choices. And if the Lord wants him, He can get him just as easily at home as He can in the UK. My son knows Jesus Christ as his Savior. He loves and follows Him. He trusts Him. 

New level of peace and assurance. 

This is what God wants – us to be continually growing. He wants us to stretch our limits. He wants us to trust Him more and more. He wants us to find our assurances in Him. He wants us to depend upon Him and not upon ourself. 

What I am feeling now is prayerful. I’m not necessarily worried; I’m just feeling the need for constant communication on behalf of my son. I pray for his safety. I pray that he will have an amazing time. I pray that he will soak in all the knowledge and experience that he can. But most of all, I pray that he will be the example of Jesus that he needs to be for the boys around him. 

School is just around the corner. For some, this is a really big deal. This is a super challenge. For some parents, they need a new level of trust in Jesus and in their children. We need to pray for all those involved. Our children are bombarded with yuck on a daily basis. They need peace. They need assurances. Jesus can offer them both. Let’s begin praying for these kids and these parents and these teachers and these administrators. Let’s pray that they find a whole new level of peace. 

Lessons in failure

Psalm 119:71 – “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Losing is tough at my house. My son had a soccer tournament this weekend. On Saturday, his team had to win their second game in order to advance to the final game. They lost. And it was a tough loss too. They were a better team. However, his team did not get to play all of its players for one reason or another. My son didn’t play. He had a case of shin splints. It was tough. It was tough for him. It was tough for us as his parents. And it was tough for the coach.

But the coach had a reason for not playing his better players and winning the game. The boys needed a lesson, a really hard lesson. They needed to learn to trust one another and respect one another, no matter what. They needed to play their position and do what they knew was right, even when things were rough.

As a parent, it is difficult for me to watch my child fail. I dislike seeing him lose. But as a parent, I have to let him fail in order to watch him succeed. You see, they played much better at the next game. They were more of a team – not perfect, granted, but better. They helped each other out instead of tearing each other down. It may not have been perfect and pretty, truly, not much that a teenage boy does is perfect and pretty, but it was a win, nonetheless.

Our Heavenly Father has to watch us fail sometimes in order to teach us a lesson. I’m sure that it is harder on Him to watch me fail than it is on me to watch my child fail. As hard as it is for me to comprehend, He loves me more than I love my child, my spouse or any other person on this earth. But He knows that in order for me to grow and become more and more like Him, sometimes I have to fail.

Failure can teach us some great lessons if we look for them. Sometimes when we fail, all we can see is the failure. That’s when God steps in and shines the light on the lesson. We need that lesson. We need to remember that He is not letting us fail because He doesn’t care. On the contrary, He allows us to fail because He loves us so much. He wants to see us learn. He wants to see us grow. He wants to see us be successful in His plan.

So this week, when failure looks you straight in the eye, say, “Oh dear friend, failure, what have you to teach me today?”

Psalm 107:25-31 – “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Last Friday was the weirdest weather day I have seen in a long time. The morning began with a light drizzle and super cloudy. By mid morning, it was beginning to rain somewhat. It has slacked up enough for me to get out of my car and go into work without an umbrella. But by 11 am, it was as dark as night outside and the wind was blowing like crazy and the heavens opened up. It was a deluge! So as we all sat checking our weather app for tornado warnings (which, by the way, are no fun at a nursing home), the storm raged on.

But the wierdest thing about the whole day was that by 1 pm there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! No joke. Totally clear with a cool, light breeze. It was simply beautiful. In fact, I came home and sat on my porch and read a book. It was lovely.

What started out as a tumultuous and scary day turned out to be a beautiful and peaceful evening.

It made me think, isn’t that just like God? The storms of my life go raging on and seem as though they will never stop until something is destroyed. I turn to God seeking His widsom and His leadership to keep me safe and help me through it. And before I know it, the clouds are gone; the winds have calmed; and I am left with the beauty of the aftermath.

I hope and pray that you have such a sanctuary and solice in the midst of your storms. If not, please seek Him out. Choose to let Him have the dominion and leadership in your life get you through whatever storm may be blowing into your life today.

Do you have what it takes?

Philippians 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Tomorrow is my daughter’s very first cheer competition. She and her team have been working since the beginning of October to get this routine together. It has been a road of success and failures, heartache and tears, joy and laughter. They have grown together as a team, but they are nervous.

The one thing they have to remember is this – just do your best and don’t stop. Don’t stop competing. Don’t stop smiling. Don’t stop cheering.

I was never a cheerleader. I don’t know what it is like to stand in front of a crowd and cheer my heart out only to have a bunch of people sitting there staring at me. I do know that it makes my daughter smile when I try to cheer along – for being a band geek, I’m not very good at keeping the right tempo in a cheer. It’s quite embarrassing, actually.

Anyway, I know you must be wondering when I am going to get around to tying this all together. I could bring out something cliche like “Life is like a cheer competition because…” But I won’t.

Every day we are faced with some type of challenge. It may be getting up in the morning or it may be deciding whether or not you are going to take a stand for what you believe in. Competition is out there. Fierce competition is out there. The question is, do you have what it takes to face it?

We think – “I need more time” or “I need this to do this right” or “I need to do this to win”. Nope. You need Jesus. Paul reminded the church at Philippi that God would supply everything they need. Everything. Everything they NEED. Not everything they want. Sometimes we get those two mixed up.

What the girls need for tomorrow is to give the glory to God for how well they are going to do and to trust Him to keep them safe. What I need for today is to meet the challenges I face with a holy and righteous attitude that will glorify my Father in heaven.

God already knows what tomorrow will bring. He already knows what the next 10 minutes will bring. Let Him give you what you need and be ready to praise Him when He gives you more than you deserve.

imPerfection

Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

We all have our favorite Bible heroes – those men and women who have faced great adversity and overcome. I think one thing that we sometimes fail to recognize and/or remember is that they were human. They sometimes made mistakes, probably way more than is recorded. 

We strive for perfection. We want the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect body, the perfect everything. And let’s face it, it’s just not realistic. My job is far from perfect. My house is a disaster and in desperate need of a good cleaning! My kids mess up and disappoint me from time to time. My body doesn’t cooperate the way I think it should. About the only thing that is perfect in my life is my Savior. And that relationship could use some work as well. 

My point is this – I don’t have to be perfect to have Jesus in my life. I don’t have to be perfect to spend time with Him. I don’t have to be perfect in order to lay my burdens at His feet. He sees our imperfections and He accepts us for who we are. 

This week is going to be far from perfect, I guarantee it. I know I am going to face challenges on every side. I know that I am going to make some poor choices. But that shouldn’t stop me from trying. My strength, my determination, my heart,my will – all these things need to be anchored in the Rock of my salvation, Jesus Christ. 

I need to consistently be aware of what it is that He wants me to do. Yesterday in Sunday school, we studied Elijah. He wasn’t afraid to open his mouth to anyone, including God. Elijah was a bit of a loner and with that comes the opportunity for imperfection. You see, Elijah did some awesome things, but he also had a few pity parties and at one time, he ran scared. He wasn’t perfect. But God used him in a mighty way because Elijah chose to allow God to work in and through him. 

I want to encourage you to not let the fear of imperfection keep you from doing something amazing for God this week. Failure is an opportunity to learn. It stinks, I know. But you didn’t just up and walk one day. You had to fall many, many times along the way. Just stayed anchored in God and let Him show you how to weather the storm.